In 1800, the artist F. Y. Alexeyev had been tasked with painting various views of Moscow, a commission it took him two years to fulfil. That set of works is the best resource we have today of how Moscow appeared in the years before it was burnt to the ground as part of the Russian scorched earth policy against Napoleon’s invasion.
On July 15, 1812, the Emperor summoned the nobility and merchants to the Slobodskoy Palace where he gave a stirring speech. Demonstrate the might of Russia, he said, and the attendees didn’t disappoint. They donated several million roubles to the war effort. The Emperor was deeply touched and said over and over again, “I shall never forget this day.”
[Translated excerpts from КНИЖКА С КАРТИНКАМИ.]